Very sad news. The twenty year old son of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon died in a training accident this week.
Here is the radio script from our report:
Assaf Ramon, the twenty year old fighter pilot son of Israel’s first astronaut died when his F-16 fighter crashed in the Hebron hills. He had received his wings only three weeks ago.His father, Ilan Ramon was aboard the United States Space Shuttle Columbia that broke apart in a fiery, heartbreaking display above the southwestern United States on February 1, 2003.
Israel’s President, Shimon Peres spoke at the burial, saying, in part,
"every heart breaks today because the son of the Ramon family was the son of us all - today we are all the Ramon family."
Peres began by praising the fallen IAF officer, saying that Assaf "was one of the best of our sons. He carries with him a rich heritage of patriotism, wisdom and generosity - a heritage deeply rooted within a family that was connected to the Jewish people''s history and the courage of the state of Israel."
The president then spoke of Assaf''s father, Ilan, saying that both father and son were "honorable, brave and courageous, always ready to serve. They were prepared to take on any task. They both grew up as high achievers and fell for their country as the highest achievers."
9/16/2009 - Book 'em Danno; Stolen Police Cars; Cop Cooperation;
Peres addressed bereaved wife and mother Rona Ramon personally, praising her strength in the face of tragedy.
"Rona, you were already brave and you will remain brave. Our broken heart is with you in every tear that falls, in every memory that causes you to smile, in every moment of stinging pain."
"I know that words that can heal this wound have not yet been created, there aren't proper words of consolation when an entire nation is aching and crying - there is nothing that can replace the heartbeats when one hears the steps of a son returning home from his base at the end of the week, nor is there anything that can fill the empty bed, the closet, the military shirt with the wings, the laughter, hugs and kisses, the 'Hello' and 'Goodbye'."
One need not know the Ramon family to feel sadness and heartbreak for a young mother who has given her best to this small nation. The words of grandfatherly Shimon Peres were touching and filled with compassion, but today with two empty closets, our prayers are for Rona Ramon.
We ask that you keep her and her entire family in your prayers.
POWER OF THE PERSONALITY – PERHAPS NOT.
In the US President Obama, or as he’s known in these halls, King Obie, is blitzing the “state run media” outlets and making speeches all around the friendly Union Halls of America.
The idea is that “real” Americans (as opposed to the trailer trash that shows up at the Tea Parties) cannot withstand his charm and powerful personality.
Obviously the King doesn’t know he’s becoming more nekkid by the day.
As proof, if any is needed, the illustrative liberal Republican Olympia Snow has said that she is not signing on to the proposed health care program as outlined to the joint session of Congress last week.
NOT ALL BLACKS ARE FOR OBAMA!
Jimmy Carter, the formerly worst American President in history, helped the administration pay the race card this week.
IN AN INTERVIEW WITH NBC'S BRIAN WILLIAMS, FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER SAID HE HAS BEEN EXTREMELY BOTHERED BY THE HEIGHTENED CLIMATE OF RACIAL AND OTHER HATE SPEECH SINCE THE ELECTION OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA.
We all know how astute and in tune he is to the heart and soul of America. Or as President Bush said, when the media asked about Carter’s criticism of him, “Jimmy who?!”
I am outraged and insulted that in desperation the liberals are doing what they always do. Calling anyone who disagrees with them bad names. This time it is racist.
I grant you there is a lot of race stuff going on in politics today. Clearly 95% of blacks voted for Obama. Even blacks who supposedly are Bible-believing, anti-abortion Christians. Knowing that he is the poster boy for abortions of every evil kind, they voted because he was the first black man with a real chance to win the White House.
That fact troubles me no end, but even more is that any opposition voiced to his campaign was deemed racist, any objections to his socialist agenda is now the same.
It is balderdash! Anyone who has a brain knows it. And it is one of the things that conservatives just better get used to. The liberals have no morals (as repeatedly demonstrated) when it comes to working for their goals. Deal with it.
OUT OF TOWN BUT NOT OUT OF TOUCH
We may be out of the country, but we aren’t out of touch with what is happening in the US. For instance, when crowds seriously estimated at 1.7 million Tea Partiers marched in the nation’s capital this past weekend, one interview started talking to the black people there.
One got our attention, as reported on Fox News: the lady said she was a Democrat, had been an Obama supporter, but was no longer, because he was selling America down the river to socialism.
BLACK, DEMOCRAT, FORMER SUPPORTER!
And now a word from a black man who is a staunch conservative (don’t know his party) and who is not an Obama supporter. Thomas Sowell is an intellectual who doesn’t need charm to win you over. His reasoning can do that.
September 15, 2009, 0:00 a.m.
Fables for Adults
Once upon a time, grown-ups had no illlusions about arbitrary government power.
by Thomas Sowell
Many years ago, as a small child, I was told one of those old-fashioned fables for children. It was about a dog with a bone in his mouth, who was walking on a log across a stream.
The dog looked down into the water and saw his reflection. He thought it was another dog with a bone in his mouth — and it seemed to him that the other dog’s bone was bigger than his. He decided that he was going to take the other dog’s bone away and opened his mouth to attack. The result was that his own bone fell into the water and was lost.
At the time, I didn’t like that story and wished they hadn’t told it to me. But the passing years and decades have made me realize how important that story was, because it wasn’t really about dogs.
Today, the president of the United States is telling us that he is going to help us take that other dog’s bone away — and the end result is likely to be very much like what it was in that children’s fable.
Whether we are supposed to take that bone away from the doctors, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies, or the insurance companies, the net result is likely to be the same — most of us will end up with worse medical care than we have available today. We will have opened our mouth and dropped a very big bone into the water.
While I was told a story in my childhood to help me understand something about the real world, today adults are being told things to reduce them to childish thinking.
The most childish of all the things being said in the august setting of a joint session of Congress last week was that millions of people can be added to the government’s health-insurance plan without increasing the federal deficit at all.
If the president of the United States could do that, it is hard to imagine what he would do as an encore. Walking on water would be an anticlimax.
What is equally childish is the notion that the great majority of Americans who have medical insurance, and who say they are satisfied with it, should be panicked and stampeded into supporting vast increases in the arbitrary power of Washington bureaucrats to take medical decisions out of the hands of doctors — ostensibly because a minority of Americans do not have medical insurance.
There was a time, within living memory, when most Americans did not have health insurance — and it was not the end of the world, as so many in politics and the media seem to depict it today.
As someone who lived through that era, and who spent decades without medical insurance, I find it hard to be panicked and stampeded into bigger and worse problems because some people do not have medical insurance, including many who could afford it if they chose to.
What did we do, back during the years when most Americans had no medical insurance? I did what most people did. I depended on a “single payer” — myself. When I didn’t have the money, I paid off my medical bills in installments.
The birth of my first child was not covered by medical insurance. I paid off the bill, month by month, until the time finally came when I could tell my wife that the baby was now ours, free and clear.
In a country where everything imaginable is bought and paid for on credit, why is it suddenly a national crisis if some people cannot pay cash up front for medical treatment?
That is not the best way to do things for all people and all medical treatments, which is why most Americans today choose to have medical insurance. But millions of other people choose not to — often young and healthy people, sometimes deadbeats who use emergency rooms and don’t pay at all.
Is this ideal? No. But if every deviation from the ideal is a reason to be panicked and stampeded into putting dangerous arbitrary powers into the hands of government, then go directly to totalitarianism, do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200.
And go ahead and drop your bone in the water, in hopes that you can get somebody else’s bigger bone.
BOOK ‘EM, DANNO!
Okay, so the above lead definitely dates me. Hawaii 5-0 has not been on TV for a very long time.
But when I saw the photo below, I was overcome by this terrible delight. Look carefully. Doesn’t it look like the Kook Chavez and the powerless President Medvedev of Russia (Putin is the dictator there) are presenting their wrists for the cuffs!?
Slap the cuffs on these two evil doers and haul them to a rubber room somewhere.
One thing my late mentor Charles “Tremendous” Jones taught me is that we are all going to be the same except for the people we surround ourselves with and the books we read.
Knowing that, I work hard to build a network of bright people with whom I can surround myself. One of those is Janet from Ocala, Florida. She sent me the following article this week, and we wanted to share it with you.
Norman Podhoretz is another very bright fellow. Father-in-law to Elliott Abrams and father to Ruthie Blum Leibowitz, Podhoretz was one of President Bush’s unofficial advisors. Enjoy.
Why Are Jews Liberals?
I'm hoping buyer's remorse on Obama will finally cause a Jewish shift to the right.
By NORMAN PODHORETZ
One of the most extraordinary features of Barack Obama's victory over John McCain was his capture of 78% of the Jewish vote. To be sure, there was nothing extraordinary about the number itself. Since 1928, the average Jewish vote for the Democrat in presidential elections has been an amazing 75%—far higher than that of any other ethno-religious group.
Yet there were reasons to think that it would be different in 2008. The main one was Israel. Despite some slippage in concern for Israel among American Jews, most of them were still telling pollsters that their votes would be strongly influenced by the positions of the two candidates on the Jewish state. This being the case, Mr. McCain's long history of sympathy with Israel should have given him a distinct advantage over Mr. Obama, whose own history consisted of associating with outright enemies of the Jewish state like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the historian Rashid Khalidi.
Nevertheless, Mr. Obama beat Mr. McCain among Jewish voters by a staggering 57 points. Except for African Americans, who gave him 95% of their vote, Mr. Obama did far better with Jews than with any other ethnic or religious group. Thus the Jewish vote for him was 25 points higher than the 53% he scored with the electorate as a whole; 35 points higher than the 43% he scored with whites; 11 points higher than the 67% he scored with Hispanics; 33 points higher than the 45% he scored with Protestants; and 24 points higher than the 54% he scored with Catholics.
These numbers remind us of the extent to which the continued Jewish commitment to the Democratic Party has become an anomaly. All the other ethno-religious groups that, like the Jews, formed part of the coalition forged by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s have followed the rule that increasing prosperity generally leads to an increasing identification with the Republican Party. But not the Jews. As the late Jewish scholar Milton Himmelfarb said in the 1950s: "Jews earn like Episcopalians"—then the most prosperous minority group in America—"and vote like Puerto Ricans," who were then the poorest.
Jews also remain far more heavily committed to the liberal agenda than any of their old ethno-religious New Deal partners. As the eminent sociologist Nathan Glazer has put it, "whatever the promptings of their economic interests," Jews have consistently supported "increased government spending, expanded benefits to the poor and lower classes, greater regulations on business, and the power of organized labor."
As with these old political and economic questions, so with the newer issues being fought out in the culture wars today. On abortion, gay rights, school prayer, gun control and assisted suicide, the survey data show that Jews are by far the most liberal of any group in America.
Most American Jews sincerely believe that their liberalism, together with their commitment to the Democratic Party as its main political vehicle, stems from the teachings of Judaism and reflects the heritage of "Jewish values." But if this theory were valid, the Orthodox would be the most liberal sector of the Jewish community. After all, it is they who are most familiar with the Jewish religious tradition and who shape their lives around its commandments.
Yet the Orthodox enclaves are the only Jewish neighborhoods where Republican candidates get any votes to speak of. Even more telling is that on every single cultural issue, the Orthodox oppose the politically correct liberal positions taken by most other American Jews precisely because these positions conflict with Jewish law. To cite just a few examples: Jewish law permits abortion only to protect the life of the mother; it forbids sex between men; and it prohibits suicide (except when the only alternatives are forced conversion or incest).
The upshot is that in virtually every instance of a clash between Jewish law and contemporary liberalism, it is the liberal creed that prevails for most American Jews. Which is to say that for them, liberalism has become more than a political outlook. It has for all practical purposes superseded Judaism and become a religion in its own right. And to the dogmas and commandments of this religion they give the kind of steadfast devotion their forefathers gave to the religion of the Hebrew Bible. For many, moving to the right is invested with much the same horror their forefathers felt about conversion to Christianity.
All this applies most fully to Jews who are Jewish only in an ethnic sense. Indeed, many such secular Jews, when asked how they would define "a good Jew," reply that it is equivalent to being a good liberal.
But avowed secularists are not the only Jews who confuse Judaism with liberalism; so do many non-Orthodox Jews who practice this or that traditional observance. It is not for nothing that a cruel wag has described the Reform movement—the largest of the religious denominations within the American Jewish community—as "the Democratic Party with holidays thrown in," and the services in a Reform temple as "the Democratic Party at prayer."
As a Jew who moved from left to right more than four decades ago, I have been hoping for many years that my fellow Jews would come to see that in contrast to what was the case in the past, our true friends are now located not among liberals, but among conservatives.
Of course in speaking of the difference between left and right, or between liberals and conservatives, I have in mind a divide wider than the conflict between Democrats and Republicans and deeper than electoral politics.
The great issue between the two political communities is how they feel about the nature of American society. With all exceptions duly noted, I think it fair to say that what liberals mainly see when they look at this country is injustice and oppression of every kind—economic, social and political. By sharp contrast, conservatives see a nation shaped by a complex of traditions, principles and institutions that has afforded more freedom and, even factoring in periodic economic downturns, more prosperity to more of its citizens than in any society in human history.
It follows that what liberals believe needs to be changed or discarded—and apologized for to other nations—is precisely what conservatives are dedicated to preserving, reinvigorating and proudly defending against attack.
In this realm, too, American Jewry surely belongs with the conservatives rather than the liberals. For the social, political and moral system that liberals wish to transform is the very system in and through which Jews found a home such as they had never discovered in all their forced wanderings throughout the centuries over the face of the earth.
The Jewish immigrants who began coming here from Eastern Europe in the 1880s were right to call America "the golden land." They soon learned that there was no gold in the streets, as some of them may have imagined, which meant that they had to struggle, and struggle hard. But there was another, more precious kind of gold in America. There was freedom and there was opportunity. Blessed with these conditions, we children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these immigrants flourished—and not just in material terms—to an extent unmatched in the history of our people.
What I am saying is that if anything bears eloquent testimony to the infinitely precious virtues of the traditional American system, it is the Jewish experience in this country. Surely, then, we Jews ought to be joining with its defenders against those who are blind or indifferent or antagonistic to the philosophical principles, the moral values, and the socioeconomic institutions on whose health and vitality the traditional American system depends.
In 2008, we were faced with a candidate who ran to an unprecedented degree on the premise that the American system was seriously flawed and in desperate need of radical change—not to mention a record powerfully indicating that he would pursue policies dangerous to the security of Israel. Because of all this, I hoped that my fellow Jews would finally break free of the liberalism to which they have remained in thrall long past the point where it has served either their interests or their ideals.
That possibility having been resoundingly dashed, I now grasp for some encouragement from the signs that buyer's remorse is beginning to set in among Jews, as it also seems to be doing among independents. Which is why I am hoping against hope that the exposure of Mr. Obama as a false messiah will at last open the eyes of my fellow Jews to the correlative falsity of the political creed he so perfectly personifies and to which they have for so long been so misguidedly loyal.
ACORN AND THEIR BRAND OF NUTS!
First it was election fraud and the Congress didn’t investigate, because as Sen. John Conyers said, “it came from above” not to do it. That could only mean the White House, and that ultimately meant the President.
The Dems should never criticize Nixon Again!!
Now, there are undercover videos of not one or two, but so far four (and likely more on the way) of Acorn leadership in a number of cities coast to coast showing that the organization is laces with more criminals than you can indict at one time.
For a view of the latest, with previous ones available below this one, just put the following link into your browser.
And perhaps finally one legislator is waking up to the reality that SEIU and ACORN need to be investigated, regardless of their being the Prez’s pals.
September 10, 2009
King: ACORN Video Confirms Need For Congressional Investigation
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Steve King today reacted to a tape released by an independent filmmaker showing Baltimore-based ACORN workers assisting a man and a woman claiming to be involved in a prostitution ring. According to FOXNEWS, “Officials with the controversial community organizing group ACORN were secretly videotaped offering to assist two individuals posing as a pimp and a prostitute, encouraging them to lie to the Internal Revenue Service and providing guidance on how to claim underage girls from South America as dependents.”
“Taxpayers should be outraged that their money has gone to an organization that, in addition to facing charges of voter fraud and tax violations, is willing to facilitate prostitution,” King said. “As this video confirms, ACORN continues to operate as a criminal enterprise. Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers, Barney Frank and other Democrats on Capitol Hill continue to protect and fund ACORN while blocking Congressional hearings on ACORN’s operations and finances. Shielding ACORN from oversight ensures that this partisan criminal enterprise will continue its shady practices while collecting taxpayer funds.”
- In June, the Washington Times reported that House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers “backed off his plan to investigate wrongdoing by the liberal activist group ACORN, saying ‘powers that be’ put the kibosh on the idea.”
- ACORN is under investigation in at least 14 states.
- ACORN as an entity was charged with voter fraud in Nevada.
- ACORN has admitted to over 400,000 fraudulent voter registrations in the 2008 election cycle.
- ACORN has received a minimum $53 million in taxpayer dollars since 1994.
- ACORN is eligible to receive as much as $8.5 billion more in federal tax dollars.
- ACORN played a role in the mortgage meltdown by pressuring banks to make bad loans and by brokering them.
- ACORN and its approximately 300 affiliates use the same accounting firm and same mailing address in New Orleans, Louisiana.
You’ll pardon me for not being especially fond of John McCain’s water boy, Lindsay Graham.
He told NPR that the President’s tone in his address to Congress last week was “overly combative.”
Get used to it, pal.
I know poor ole John has been polite, polite, polite. But King Obie is a different breed of cat.
You see, he thinks he’s smarter than all the rest of us. Better at ruling our lives than we are, and that we are ungrateful fools for not recognizing it!
When megalomaniacs aren’t obeyed immediately they get nasty. Look at Hitler’s response or Stalin’s or Mao’s.
Now I’m not saying Obama is like them. Hitler was a fascist; the others communists. They all did all think it was their right to take over their nations’ governments and rule the people in every minute detail, however.
But politeness, Senator? Get a grip. McCain is the great sweetie pie to the very people who want to destroy his nation. He has a long record of insulting conservatives and standing alongside the ones who despise what he personally stands for. Yet he is a conservative according to his voting record. He’s just terminally naïve, in our opinion.
Prior to 2000, when the Intifada really went into full swing, Israeli police and the IDF worked jointly with the Palestinian Police, even to the point of joint patrols.
That stopped on the day that two Palestinian policemen shot their Israeli counterparts in the back of the head while on foot patrol.
Now, the Ugly One, Arafat, is dead. The ineffable Abbas is running the Arab show in the West Bank, and the cooperation is back.
Personally, I’m glad. And don’t think for a minute that I, or more importantly, the Israelis are unaware that they have to watch their back. But trying to work together is a good thing as far as it can go.
Take auto thefts for instance.
Years ago, a high Israeli government official had his Jaguar stolen. He called Shimon Peres, who called Arafat, who later called back and told were to find the car.
“Of the 24,000 cars that are stolen annually in Israel, 17,000 end up in the West Bank, and here too, the two police forces have been trying to stem crime together. So far this year, a mere 438 cars have been returned, but officer Israel says it is a start.” (J-Post)
Last year I reported on the fact that the Palestinian police had literally confiscated over two hundred stolen cars, repainted them and turned them into squad cars!
Stolen? (Ernie Moore)
Israelis are not, by law, allowed to go to the Palestinian areas today. It is foolish and dangerous at times.
“One of the most important results of the cooperation is the safe evacuation of hundreds of Israeli civilians who mistakenly enter Palestinian cities in the West Bank every year.
“Since January 1,232 Israelis have been returned to Israeli police by Palestinian Civil Police officers. Some innocently drove down the wrong street, ending up in Jericho or Ramallah, while others were Israeli Arab lawbreakers who entered the West Bank as part of their activities.” (J-Post)
So now you know why we agree that the cooperation is working for the most part, a good thing, and hope it will continue to improve.
Last week we reported that Saad Hariri, the billionaire son of the former Lebanonese Prime Minister who was murdered when an explosive-laden van was driven into his limo by a suicide bomber, announced that he could not form a coalition government.
This week, he was reappointed the Lebanese PM-designate by President Suleiman. In other words, try again. Or better yet, try harder.
BE SURE AND SEE BARRY RUBIN’S COLUMN LATER ON HERE.
We’ve been presenting you repeated proof of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Jewish archeological proof. Solid stuff that speaks for itself.
I know most of our readers don’t require it, but the finds are interesting, and we enjoy showing you what is being literally “dug up.”
This week is the report of the “stepped street” from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount.
Last year we were on tour with friends from the Washington, DC area. Our guide took us through the City of David, then down to the Gihon Springs, and then to this area in the report. It was fascinating.
Second Temple Period Stepped Street Discovered
in City of David Excavation
2000 Years Ago, Pilgrims Began Their Trek to the Temple Mount From Here
Drain (Gihon tunnel?)
Stepped Street (Ernie Moore)(the report uses “Shiloach,” but it is the Siloam. Spellings and words. EDM)
A section of a stepped street paved in stone slabs, going south in the direction of the Shiloach Pool was discovered in excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Shiloach Pool Excavation at the City of David in the Jerusalem Walls National Park. The excavations are conducted in cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, funded by the Elad Foundation, under the auspices of Prof. Ronny Reich of Haifa University and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The existence of this road has been known about for over one hundred years, since it was first discovered between 1894 and 1897 by Prof. Frederick J. Bliss and Archibald C. Dickey of the British Palestine Exploration Fund, and then covered and filled in at the end of their excavation. Other sections of this same road, to the north, have been excavated and covered over in the past, including during the excavations of Jones in 1937 and Kathleen Kenyon from 1961-1967.
This section of the stepped street was discovered at a distance of 550 meters south of the Temple Mount. The road represents the central thoroughfare of Jerusalem that ascended from the north-west corner of the Second Temple Shiloach Pool to the north.
According to Prof. Ronny Reich, "In the Second Temple Period, pilgrims would begin the ascent to the Temple from here. This is the southernmost tip of the road, of which a section has already been discovered along the western face of the Temple Mount."
The current excavation has been concentrated in a very narrow strip (1-2 meters in width) in the western sections of the road. Essentially, the excavation work removed the earth that had been filled in by previous excavators over the sections they already discovered. This section of road is built in the Second Temple style, which comprises alternating wide and narrow steps.
Further work must be done to clarify what the relationship was between the current excavated section and the section of the road and the drainage channel that were discovered nearby two years ago.
(Courtesy GPO and IAA)
There is more to report on the idea of cooperation between Israel and Arabs.
In this case it is the Egyptians, primarily, though there are others who prefer to remain unnamed. Saudis, for instance. They like to keep their distance publicly, but they hate the Iranians, and fear them more. Especially when talk turns to the “bomb.”
The Egyptians have had an on-again, off-again relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. It is embodied in several different groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and now al Qaeda, all of which pose serious threats to Egypt.
Under the heading of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” then Israel is getting more cooperation from Egypt in the area of helping to track arms shipments which are often shipped to Africa’s coastal areas, trucked from Somalia, Chad, Sudan and other places.
Egypt has agents (as does Israel’s Mossad) and so the reports come flooding in. Then raids can be sent out against the truck convoys. Such a raid was carried out a few months ago in the Sudan by Israeli drones.
“… According to information obtained by Israel, Egyptian troops have begun operating deep in the Sinai desert, unlike in the past, to stop the weapons shipments before they reach the Egyptian border town of Rafah. Beduin clans that live in the Sinai are involved in transferring the shipments through the desert to the Gaza border.
The Egyptian security forces are also working hand-in-hand with US military engineers who assist them in operating tunnel-detection equipment along the border with Gaza.
On Monday, Egyptian forces destroyed 10 tunnels used to smuggle weaponry and other contraband into the Gaza Strip. According to news reports, the tunnels were discovered after security officers received a tip from a smuggler in Rafah.
According to one report, the man who gave the tip was Muhammad al-Shaer - described by an Egyptian security official in AFP as one of the most wanted smugglers in the area.”
A LONG MEMORY
This week Israeli intel units nabbed the head of Hamas’ military wing in Tulkarem. The man was instrumental in the 2002 terror attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya which took the lives of 30 people and injured scores of others. The terrorist and his “deputy” were both taken. Life is not looking good for them.
GO NORTH (OR SOUTH), YOUNG MAN
Horace Greeley’s forgiveness, this is the message of Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, who is also head of the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry. Said office was held by President Shimon Peres before he took his latest post.
The Negev, hot, desert and with vast unpopulated areas was Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion’s love. And Shimon Peres, acolyte of the PM loves it too.
Now it is Shalom who is talking about attracting 600,000 Israelis (including Arab-Israelis) to move either to the Galilee or the Negev and establish cities, industrial and farming communities by 2020.
Such was the word this week at a press conference Shalom held. And it is a great idea. There is plenty of room, and if anyone in the world has proven they know how to carve civilization out of wilderness, desert, swamp and mountains, it is Israel.
Besides, this might drain some of the impetus from having “settlers” move to Samarian or Judean (West Bank) areas. That would sure make a certain man in the White House happy, and take some strain off Bibi.
J-POST REPORTS ON A CAMPAIGN TO BREAK THE ORTHODOX MONOPOLY IN ISRAEL’S GOVERNMENT
This is interesting stuff if you are familiar with Israel. It may not be too hot for you, but we offer it to those who care.
Campaign to break Orthodox monopoly
Sep. 14, 2009
RON FRIEDMAN and MATTHEW WAGNER , THE JERUSALEM POST
Hiddush, a trans-denominational organization aimed at promoting religious freedom in Israel, was launched at a press conference in Tel Aviv on Monday.
The new group, a partnership between Israeli Jews and World Jewry headed by Rabbi Uri Regev and American businessman and Jewish philanthropic and communal leader Stanley P. Gold, challenges the status quo of the religious power structure in Israel and aims to build up grassroots momentum for change.
The Monday press conference, during which Hiddush presented its staff, explained its rationale, launched its new Web site and released a summery of a statistical study it conducted, was held in the building where, on May 14, 1948, David Ben Gurion read Israel's Declaration of Independence.
Hiddush, which in Hebrew means innovation and renewal, aims to realize the words of the declaration, which states that "The State of Israel… will uphold freedom of religion and conscience and ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion," said Regev.
Some of Hiddush's goals include instituting civil marriages as well as ensuring recognition for Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist marriages and conversions, and providing equal funding for non-Orthodox religious services, said Regev, CEO of Hiddush, in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post.
"We will be mobilizing among opinion leaders and the grassroots, among business leaders and other segments of the community," he said, adding that both the Reform and Conservative movements have expressed their support for Hiddush.
"Jews the world over have a stake in this issue. We plan to continue to grow public support."
He spoke out against the social ills facing the country that in his opinion were caused by the religious involvement in the state, including inequality in education, employment and army service, discrimination against women, refusal of ultra-Orthodox schools to implement the legal requirement for teaching mathematics, English, sciences and civics and the limitations on use of public transportation.
Regev, who until recently served as president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, admitted that in the current political climate it would be difficult to dismantle the Orthodox monopoly over religious services.
"Nevertheless, over the years we have succeeded in small victories, such as preventing a change in the definition of 'Who is a Jew?' The challenge we will [tackle] has value in itself even if we do not manage to bring change immediately.
"In the long run we cannot allow the present situation to continue," he continued. "A state cannot define itself as democratic and at the same time prevent a large portion of its citizens from getting married."
Shas, United Torah Judaism and Habayit Hayehudi, all government coalition members, are opposed to breaking the Orthodox monopoly over religious services. Even Israel Beiteinu, which represents many of the non-Jewish FSU immigrants who are unable to marry in Israel, is not advocating full-fledged civil marriage. Rather, the party supports a type of commitment ceremony (brit zugiut) that would be recognized by the state but would not be considered "marriage."
Gold, who is the Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, warned of the "weakening of the Israeli economy if a drastic shift in the Ultra-Orthodox school curriculum does not occur, and if a large-scale increase in their participation in the workforce doesn't take place."
According to Gold, who wrote from his home in Los Angles, "Today, Israel is an attractive place for investors, in large part due to its educated work force. The fact that a quarter of Jewish students in Israel study in the ultra-Orthodox school system threatens to destroy this advantage. In the ultra-Orthodox education system a large percentage of male students study mathematics on a very low level and they don't study English or science at all.
"This situation," Gold said, "threatens to reduce the Israeli economy within ten years to a third-world level." He emphasized that 60 percent of ultra-Orthodox men in Israel study in yeshivas and do not work, supporting their families solely with government stipends.
Different studies have found that ultra-Orthodox men's avoidance of joining the Israeli job market costs Israel between NIS 5 to 15 billion annually. "But there is nothing in the Torah that prohibits a religious man from providing for his family with dignity," said Gold.
At the press conference the new organization also presented their Web site - hiddush.org, which exists in Hebrew and English versions.
Hiddush used the launch as a platform to present a survey they conducted to assess current sentiments of the Jewish population of Israel on matters of religion and state. The survey, which was conducted by Rafi Smith and Olga Paniel from Smith Research Institute during the months of June and July, canvassed the opinions of a sample group of 1,200 adult Jewish men and women.
Among the finding of the survey, whose details can be seen on the Hiddush Web site, were the following highlights: 83% support ensuring freedom of religion and conscience; 63% support equal state funding for all Jewish denominations; 84% oppose military service exemptions for Yeshiva students; 92% of secular Jews support abolishing the Orthodox monopoly on marriage; 80% support canceling or limiting gender-segregated Mehadrin bus lines; 62% support the operation of public transportation on Saturdays.
"This study clearly reveals strong support for a range of matters of religious freedom and equality among the general Israeli population. This suggests that mainstream Israelis, across the social and political spectrum, are open to fundamental change in the long-standing status quo agreements, which have granted monopoly powers to the ultra-Orthodox political parties and chief rabbinate. Israelis seek a more free and egalitarian society, in which all citizens receive more equal status, both in rights and duties," wrote Smith in his conclusion.
JEWISH HIGH HOLIDAYS ARE UPON US
It’s New Years for Jews worldwide. In fact, there are a number of holidays and “High Holidays” coming soon.
The good folks at the Government Press Office sent out a good piece on each, and so rather than duplicate their efforts, we offer the following:
JEWISH HOLIDAYS, SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2009
(Communicated by GPO News Department)
Several Jewish holidays – some of which are full legal holidays in Israel – will take place this year between 18 September and 10 October. The Government Press Office would like to provide the following brief summary.
Preparations for the Jewish New Year
The period preceding the Jewish New Year is marked by special penitential prayers, recited before the regular morning prayers, and the blowing of the ram’s horn (shofar in Hebrew) after the morning prayer service. Jews of North African and Middle Eastern origin began to recite these special prayers on 21 August; Jews of European origin began to recite them on 12/13 September). These special prayers are said daily (except on the New Year holiday itself and the Sabbath) until Yom Kippur (28 September).
Rosh Hashanah (the two-day Jewish new year), whose observance is mandated by Leviticus 23:23-25, will begin at sunset on Friday, 18 September and conclude at nightfall on Sunday, 20 September. Both days are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings.
The centerpiece of the Rosh Hashanah service is the blowing of the shofar during morning prayers. (The shofar is not sounded on the Sabbath should either of the two days fall on Saturday, as the first day does this year.) Both days are full public holidays and, as on the Sabbath, there will be no public transportation or newspapers. In addition, many businesses, museums and other institutions, which are normally open on the Sabbath, will be closed over the holiday. The GPO will be closed on Friday-Sunday, 18-20 September, inclusive.
Rosh Hashanah is also characterized by two special customs. The first is the eating of apple slices dipped in honey, symbolizing the hope that the coming year will be “sweet.” The second involves going to a natural source of flowing water (such as an ocean, river, or spring), reading a selection of scriptural verses and casting pieces of bread into the water – to symbolize the “casting off” of the previous year’s sins; this practice derives from Micah 7:19 (“…and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”) This ceremony takes place on the first day of Rosh Hashanah or on the second, if the first day falls on the Sabbath, as the first day does this year.The Period Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
The ten days between New Year and Yom Kippur (inclusive) are known as “The Ten Days of Repentance”. Jewish tradition maintains that this is a time of judgment when all people and nations are called to account for their deeds of the past year, and when their particular fates for the coming year are decided.
The day after the New Year holiday is a day of fasting known as The Fast of Gedaliah, and commemorates the murder of Gedaliah, the Jewish governor of Judea, who was appointed by the Babylonians after they captured Jerusalem in 586 BCE; the episode is recounted in II Kings 25:22-25. When the day after Rosh Hashanah is a Saturday, as it is this year, the fast is postponed by one day. Accordingly, the fast will extend from sunrise on Monday, 21 September this year, until nightfall the same day. Special scriptural readings are recited, but the day is not a public holiday.
A single Sabbath, known as the “Sabbath of Repentance”, always occurs between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This Sabbath (26 September this year) is marked by a special reading from Hosea 14:2-10, beginning with, “Return, Israel, unto the Lord your God.”
Yom Kippur (Hebrew for “The Day of Atonement”) begins at sunset on Sunday, 27 September, and concludes at nightfall on Monday, 28 September. Its observance is mandated by Leviticus 16:29-31 and 23:27-32. The holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur is the day on which, according to Jewish tradition, our fates for the coming year are sealed. Synagogue services – centering on the penitential prayers – will continue for most of the day and include special scriptural readings (including the Book of Jonah in the afternoon). Memorial prayers for the deceased, said four times a year, are recited on Yom Kippur. At nightfall, the shofar is sounded once to mark the end of Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is a full public holiday in Israel and almost all establishments, including the GPO, will be closed (The GPO will be closed Sunday-Monday, 27-28 September). There will be no radio or television broadcasts. Since Yom Kippur is a day of introspection, completely separate from the normal course of daily life – the physical aspects of our lives are sublimated while we concentrate on our spiritual concerns – the day is marked by a full (sunset to sunset) fast. The wearing of leather, the use of cosmetics, bathing and marital relations are likewise forbidden.
The seven-day Sukkot festival, mandated by Leviticus 23:34-35 and 23:39-43, begins at sunset on Friday, 2 October and concludes at nightfall on Friday, 9 October. The first day, from sunset on Friday, 2 October, until nightfall on Saturday, 3 October, is a full public holiday. All seven days of the holiday are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings – including the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is read on Saturday, 3 October. Sukkot is a joyful, family oriented holiday, which follows – and provides a contrast to – the somber, introspective and private character of Yom Kippur. Many businesses and institutions will operate, most on a reduced basis. The GPO will be open on a reduced basis from 4-6.10.09 (details to be announced separately) and closed on 7-10.10.09, inclusive, and will reopen on Sunday, 11 October.
Sukkot is characterized by two main practices. Jews are enjoined to build, take all of their meals in, and (if possible) sleep in, temporary huts topped with thatch or palm fronds during the festival. These huts (sukkot in Hebrew) commemorate the temporary, portable dwellings in which the Jewish people lived during their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness that followed their liberation from slavery in Egypt. The second main Sukkot observance is the special bouquet – consisting of a closed palm frond, a citron, a myrtle branch and a willow branch – that is held during morning prayers on each of the seven days (except the Sabbath); its origins derive from Leviticus 23:40, many traditional explanations of its symbolism have been cited.
Shemini Atzeret (Simhat Torah)
The Shemini Atzeret (literally “The Eighth Day of Assembly” in Hebrew) holiday immediately follows the last day of Sukkot, beginning at sunset on Friday, 9 October and concluding at nightfall on Saturday, 10 October. Its observance is mandated by Leviticus 23:36. It is a full public holiday. (Even though it follows the seven-day Sukkot festival and is often considered part of Sukkot, it is, in fact, a separate holiday. The special bouquet is not used and the obligation to sit in the sukkot no longer applies.) The day’s prayer services include the memorial prayers for the deceased, as well as the prayer for plentiful rainfall during the coming winter.
Shemini Atzeret, however, centers around its special scriptural readings. On Shemini Atzeret, the yearly cycle of Torah (the first five books of the Bible, i.e. Genesis to Deuteronomy, one section of which is read on each Sabbath during the year) readings is both completed and begun anew. This event is accompanied by dancing and singing, sometimes continuing for several hours; in religious neighborhoods, these celebrations often spill out into the streets. Thus, the holiday is also referred to as Simhat Torah (“Rejoicing of the Torah” in Hebrew).
I have to tell you that I get a kick out of the decals often seen on muscle trucks in the US. “Fear This!” they threaten. Then there is one I love, “Ain’t Skeered.” Some good ole boy decided to fight back.
At any rate, it is a fact that thugs and dictators (but I repeat myself) like their serfs to be afraid. Very afraid. Love, affection, respect, all the rest, come far behind raw fear. If the people fear the leaders, then they are more apt to stay in line.
Barry Rubin has taken this idea and put some fun with it.
Don’t be so afraid of Israel’s enemies. They will ruin themselves, or as he says, “Don’t worry, our enemies will save us.”
The Region: In the Middle East, fear trumps popularity
Sep. 13, 2009
Barry Rubin , THE JERUSALEM POST
When people are very pessimistic, I say to them: Don't worry our enemies will save us. By that I mean that the enemies of peace, progress and democracy - Islamists and radical Arab nationalists, terrorists, neo-Marxist dictators and silly people in the West alike - are so intransigent, prone to lying and dangerously wrong about society that they will convince and force most people to reject them.
Even when thrown lifelines, they reject concessions, turn up their nose at compromise, go too far and become astonishingly illogical.
There are many examples.
The relatively soft approaches of the US and Europe gave Iran a great opportunity. Teheran could have feigned flexibility, pretended cooperation and extolled engagement. This would have forestalled sanctions, while it could still have secretly worked on nuclear weapons.
After all, even after a virtual coup by the most hard-line faction, stolen election, repression, show trials of dissidents and appointment of a wanted terrorist as defense minister (that's a pretty amazing list, isn't it?), the West was still willing to deal with the regime.
Instead, Iran produced an "offer" to negotiate so minimal that even the Europeans rejected it. While this doesn't mean all is well - Russia and China will block and sabotage even moderate sanctions and Western Europeans will oppose really harsh ones - at least Iran's last-minute effort to derail the process altogether will fail.
Imagine what the Iranian regime could have done if the ruling establishment had elected someone less extreme than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then claimed this showed what a moderate democratic state it was running. A charm offensive could have defused the nuclear controversy, sanctions would have been taken off the table, and Iran could have built nuclear weapons at a more sedate pace.
NOW TURN to Lebanon. Hizbullah was riding high there. A new government was going to give them both 30 percent of the cabinet seats and veto power over all government policies. But when the March 14 coalition, which won the elections, presented its own list of ministers, the Syrians and their Hizbullah allies rejected it as insufficiently subservient. This pushed March 14, which had been steadily conceding, so hard that it dug in its heels and rejected these demands. Negotiations will now have to start all over again.
The Syrians could have regained most of their former power over Lebanon - Hizbullah was practically in the driver's seat but that wasn't enough for them.
The same applies to eager US attempts to engage Syria. But the Damascus dictatorship wouldn't give an inch to gain a yard. The Syrians weren't willing even to deescalate terrorism in Iraq for a while. Washington is getting annoyed.
Syria could have wiped out US sanctions, gained good relations with Europe and have the Obama administration turn a blind eye to its terror-sponsoring and subversion throughout the region. Instead, it threw away this opportunity.
The same applies to Hamas. It tried a little to pretend moderation and some Western suckers were swallowing the bait, but it couldn't sustain the pretense very long.
The Palestinian Authority offers an even clearer example. Imagine how much it could have gained by playing along with the US president's desperate desire to help. It could have shown flexibility, professed eagerness to establishing a Palestinian state on something approaching reasonable terms.
Its success would have been tremendous. At the very least, the PA could have easily engineered the biggest US-Israel conflict in history. But from the start PA leader Mahmoud Abbas made it clear that he was asking for everything and giving nothing. Their best chance has thrown away.
One more, historic, example: In late 1990 or early 1991 Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein could have cut a great deal - part of Kuwait, billions of dollars and the appeasement of Gulf Arab states. Instead, he refused any agreement, kept his army in Kuwait, and suffered a military defeat.
He did the same in the 2000-2003 period when he could have made a good bargain for stopping his nuclear program in exchange for concessions. Instead, he did the opposite: He pretended to keep the program even when he cut back.
IT IS vital to understand why this patterns repeats itself so often. First, these forces really are radical and extremist. They don't want deals; they want total victory, all disputed land, complete dictatorship, expulsion or extinction of their adversaries.
Second, they believe their own propaganda. They think they can win and assume those on the other side are weak and doomed by deity and history.
Third, they are wedded to brutal methods. Terrorism is the tool of people who exult in deliberate violence against civilians and among whom gunmen and their values rise to the top.
Fourth, they fear internal rivals and their own people who they know have been so conditioned by extremism as to reject moderates as traitors. This is obviously less true in Iranian politics but applies to Palestinian politics.
Equally important, if any individual leader in these circles wanted to follow a more moderate policy, he knows rival leaders would use this against him, to destroy his power and perhaps kill him. All these leaders must continue to ride the tiger or be eaten. The fact that they helped give birth to the tiger in the first place won't save them.
Finally, this is the region's political style: Toughness counts; fear is better than popularity. In contrast to Western viewpoints, to concede or compromise shows weakness which means others will walk all over you. Of course, this is precisely how they view the West's sensitivity and apologies. "Confidence-building" measures become contempt-building measures.
Many Western leaders and much of the Western intelligentsia are like people sleeping through a burglary. Not only are their friends trying to wake them up, so are - however inadvertently - their enemies.
NEVER LET IT BE SAID
THAT I DON’T GIVE YOU PRAISE FOR OBAMA, TOO.
That was sort of a peculiar lead to a story by Daniel Pipes, who really isn’t a great fan of the President, but he does appreciate one aspect of the current foreign policy. And he’s right.
There has been talk about how impressive Obama’s Egypt speech to Muslims was. Such grandeur that they will now be our pals. Not.
Pipes tells all.
Lion's Den: One cheer for Obama's foreign policy
Sep. 15, 2009
Daniel Pipes , THE JERUSALEM POST
The Obama administration has established an alarmingly naïve and dangerous record on Arab-Israeli issues, leading me to worry about spectacular policy failures ahead. But it has initiated one innovative and positive policy deserving high praise.
Instead of Israel making yet more unilateral concessions to the Palestinians, in late May Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called to "bring Arab states into the circle of peace." US special envoy George Mitchell and Defense Minister Ehud Barak picked up on this and developed plans to integrate those Arab states into the diplomatic process. In mid-July, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted that "Arab states have a responsibility... to take steps to improve relations with Israel, and to prepare their publics to embrace peace and accept Israel's place in the region."
A month later, Barack Obama declared his hope that "we are going to see not just movement from the Israelis, but also from the Palestinians around issues of incitement and security, from Arab states that show their willingness to engage Israel." According to a report by foreign policy blogger Laura Rozen - later confirmed by the White House - Obama "sent letters to at least seven Arab and Gulf states seeking confidence-building measures [CBMs] toward Israel." (Those states include Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.)
In one such letter, sent on July 7 to King Muhammad VI of Morocco, Obama expressed his hope that Arab states will take steps to end Israel's "isolation" in the Middle East and that "Morocco will be a leader in bridging gaps between Israel and the Arab world." Examples of CBMs include Arab states opening trade offices in Israel, allowing Israeli planes to traverse their airspace, issuing tourist visas to Israelis and Arab officials meeting with Israeli leaders.
This appeal found a mixed Arab reception. On the positive side, Bahrain's crown prince, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, suggested that "all sides need to take simultaneous, good-faith action if peace is to have a chance," and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh committed his government "to creating the right atmosphere" and supporting the US "vision." An unnamed Arab diplomat offered that "in return for a symbolic compromise on the settlements, some Arab states will be willing to pay with some symbolic gestures."
IN CONTRAST, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia rejected Obama's appeal for CBMs vis-à-vis Israel during a presidential visit in early June. Rozen reports that the Saudi monarch "launched a tirade during Obama's long meeting in Riyadh." It went so badly that Saudi officials "later apologized to the US president for the king's behavior."
Likewise, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit asked rhetorically, "Is normalization possible as long as the building in settlements continues? The answer is no, of course." Arab League chief Amr Moussa deemed it "impossible to speak of normalization when Israel rejects any significant measure."
Negative responses notwithstanding, the involvement of the Arab states that can offer benefits to Israel should limit the harm inflicted by do-gooding diplomatic "peace processors." Almost two decades ago, in a Wall Street Journal article in June 1990, I called for including those states. I noted there a remarkable symmetry in which "Palestinians want from Israel what Israel wants from the Arab states - recognition and legitimacy. Thus, Palestinians seek concessions from Israel and Israel seeks concessions from the Arab states." I suggested yoking together the parallel frustrations that "Israel cannot get what it wants from the Arab states, and the Palestinians cannot get what they want from Israel."
The US government should, I proposed, "link concessions to Israel by the Arab states with Israeli concessions to the Palestinians. That is, when the Arab states give Israel something it wants, Israelis should then - and only then - be expected to give something in turn to the Palestinians." As an example, I proposed that when the Saudis end their economic boycott of Israel, Israelis in return increase Palestinian access to underground water on the West Bank.
This balanced approach, I suggested, "places the burden of the initiative squarely on the Arab states - where it should be." After the long, sterile and counterproductive detour of exclusively Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, it is gratifying to see an attempt finally to bring the Arab states into the negotiations. I still maintain that the Palestinians need be defeated before negotiations can productively take place, but involving the Arab states improves the balance and reduces the potential for damage.
The writer (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.
TYPICAL UNITED NATIONS: GOLDSTONE REPORT
An inside contact at the UN told us long ago that the Arab nations run the UN. They do it with puppet strings, using any number of front men and women, but the fact is that they call the shots.
So it was no wonder to us that a UN report on Israel’s “Cast Lead” operation in Gaza at the end of last year would be a scathing, stupid and anti-Israel one.
“The United Nations said the investigation led by former South African judge Goldstone concluded that "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," during its Dec. 27-Jan. 18 military operations in the Palestinian territories.”
That’s just a little piece of it. Here is Ynet’s report on YOUR tax dollars at work. The US funds fully 25% of the UN’s budget. That is idiotic in itself, when one considers all the billions of petro dollars the Arabs salt away while we pay for the most anti-American organization this side of the Obama regime.
Barak aide: Goldstone Report on Gaza war encourages terror
Defense minister's aide says findings of UN probe into IDF offensive 'reward terror,' while senior Hamas figure calls report 'politically imbalanced'
"The comparison between those who pursue terror and terror victims is inconceivable," a source close to Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday, after the release of the Goldstone Report – the UN inquest into the Israeli offensive in Gaza in early 2009.
The report, added the source, "Not only rewards terror it also encourages it... The defense establishment is gearing to give legal counsel to IDF officers and the proper legal and diplomatic steps are already underway in order to render this report invalid."
The United Nations said the investigation led by former South African judge Goldstone concluded that "Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," during its Dec. 27-Jan. 18 military operations in the Palestinian territories.
The global body said the report "concludes there is also evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity," by firing rockets into southern Israel.
The report accuses Israel of violating international law and possibly committing war crimes during Operation Cast Lead. Similar accusations, however, are also made regarding Hamas – the report condemns the groups' rocket fire on Israel, as well as IDF soldier Gilad Shalit's captivity, which the report said does not coincide with conventions meant to ensure treatment of prisoners of war.
Government sources told Ynet that while both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Barak viewed the findings gravely, they have decided to no issue any formal response at this time. Netanyahu instructed all the ministers to do the same.
The prime minister intends to study the 575-page report – and its possible repercussions – thoroughly; especially those pertaining to possible UN and International Crimes Court (ICC) actions.
Jerusalem's main concern at this time is that a report by a seemingly ephemeral, biased body, will harm international relations. Netanyahu wished to refute the report completely.
'New level of Israel-bashing'
Minister of Information Yuli Edelstein said the report "exceeded the limits of Israel-bashing that we've become accustomed to. Making such allegations disguised as 'protecting human rights' is more than a stretch."
The Foreign Ministry issued the following statement: "(The report) fails to mention the word 'terrorists' and the same Hamas operatives, who kidnapped Gilad Shalit, are lauded for their support of the committee's work.
"The fact that the operation followed years of incessant rocket fire on civilians, as well as the wide support it was given by the Israeli public, is not mentioned at all… This report sends a very troubling message to terror groups, according to which the cynical use of civilian suffering for political gain actually bears fruit."
The ministry also protested the contradiction between Goldstone's assertion that the committee "did not reach any legal conclusions" and the fact that the "report was fashioned as a legal document and included explicit allegations."
The ministry further admonished the committee for not dismissing members who made anti-Israeli statements.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriella Shalev told Ynet that the report came as no surprise to Israel: "This is a unilateral, political report which ignores the thousands of Hamas missiles which brought about the Gaza operation and it ignores Hamas' strategy of using civilians as human shields."
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said the report detailed the "crimes perpetrated by occupation (forces) in the war," adding his government facilitated the committee's as best it could.
Haniyeh did not comment on the report's condemnation of Hamas rocket fire on Israel.
Earlier Tuesday, senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said the Islamist group rejects the "political imbalance" of the UN report: "The report puts those who committed the crimes and those who fought against them on the same level," he said
Ali Waked and AFP contributed to this report
ON THE OTHER HAND…
Haaretz’ web site came out with the following headline regarding the Goldstone Report:
“In Wake of Gaza Probe, How Can Israel Go To War Again?”
The answer of course is that Israel is not, nor ever has been bound by lunacy at the United Nations, or anywhere else, for that matter.
These reports, the attempts to criminalize Israel’s politicians and generals are unending. Spain tried it, then finally dropped it when no one else agreed to play along. Like the Obama crowd trying to please the radical left, Haaretz is playing to their readers in the same crowd.
And yes, Virginia, there are kook liberals everywhere, including Israel.
Like most, they are ready to undermine the very nation that provides for their safety. One wonders at their amazement if they ever came under Palestinian terrorist domination. They would be stunned that their blood would flow just like a conservative’s. But then the reality of the moment would be short-lived.
Barry Rubin’s piece about our enemies saving us reminds us that it isn’t really our enemies. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
That no doubt seems a bit provincial to the people who don’t genuinely love the Lord. They, after all, are far too sophisticated to buy into this idea that God really favors the people of faith and belief.
Humanists deny His existence. If God doesn’t exist then how can He help anyone? My point exactly. Since He does exist, then He does help the ones promised His assistance.
We on the conservative side of life sometimes get too scared. Right does indeed triumph, and I’m not talking about political right or left, but righteousness’ “right.”
And like Professor Rubin says, sometimes the Lord uses our enemies to bring about our rescue. They often reach too far, too fast, and their perverseness, greed, arrogance – all the “pride” sins catch up to them.
Communists spent themselves out of business. The Russians, for instance, bankrupted themselves because they forgot that government doesn’t produce anything, it takes from producers. (Are you listening, Obie?)
When they ran out of nations to pillage and drain, then they went under, having to close down the communism and try capitalism. Without the righteousness that comes from a Judeo-Christian ethic, they watched helplessly as their economy was taken over by their underworld. Russian Mafia.
The Chi-Coms went a different route. They turned capitalists. The difference between them and out historic method of government was that they picked and chose who would be the entrepreneurs. So far it is working for them, and they are getting rich as Midas, even building Hummers, now.
“Fear God, you need not fear anything else.” Yes, that sounds too innocent and naïve by far. The fact that it is Biblical notwithstanding, too many people dismiss it out of hand, work on their own philosophy, which is usually some blend of religion, humanism and personal excuses.
GET A CREED
Our suggestion is that a person decide what they believe and why. If the foundation is strong (such as Biblical) then they are on the right track.
But to dismiss the teachings of the Bible is silliness when it has proven results. HERE LIES THE PROBLEM…
What does one really believe versus what does one SAY one believes? When the test comes, it will be revealed. If we sell our creed out for convenience, profit or acceptance by those who don’t share our supposed beliefs, then did we really have a creed at all?
And don’t think that youngsters are the only ones who face this challenge. We all do. Every day.
In life the test comes before the lesson too many times. That’s why we need to decide what we believe ahead of time.
THIS I BELIEVE. AND THIS IS WHY I BELIEVE IT.
Don’t misunderstand. I am for personal growth. I’m just not for compromising my Bible-based beliefs while I’m growing intellectually, educationally or experientially.
We are challenged by those who have a weaker grip on morality to compromise with them. After all, they are challenged by our morals. If we join them at their level, they will like us better. They won’t respect us as much as they once did, but we don’t challenge them any more so we are easier to take.
If all of this sounds “snooty” or high-minded, or arrogant, forgive me. One of the battle cries against morality is “Well, you think you’re better than me!”
Well, maybe I am better than you. Isn’t a person who is not a pedophile better than a pedophile?
So then, to some lesser degree than that illustration, a moral person who truly lives it IS better than an immoral person. That’s just a fact.
And if you are in trouble, do you want someone to advise you who is stable or someone who is so weak and foolish they wouldn’t know truth if it slapped them? The answer is obvious.
We just don’t want them to get in our face with their morality until we need help.
I don’t think so. I have lived with a high moral code for a very long time. I don’t have any trouble making or keeping friends who respect a similar code, even when they disagree with me over politics, evolution, or even religion.
It’s just that I don’t want everyone to like me. I don’t even care if they respect me. There are people whose friendship, respect or fellowship comes at too high a price to seriously desire.
Well, folks, that’s a wrap for this week. To those who have been praying for my wife recently, thank you. She underwent four surgeries in the past four months. Three on her eyes and one on her nose (skin cancer). The first three were totally successful, and the cancer one need more follow up, though not for a while yet.
She’s doing fine, and we truly do appreciate your keeping us in your thoughts, hearts, and prayers. Your friendship, support and encouragement are real blessings.
Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Psalm 25:22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
Psalm 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down our enemies.
Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
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